Eight men have been arrested as part of an undercover human trafficking bust in the Youngstown area, the Ohio Attorney General announced Friday.
The eight were taken into custody following an investigation and sting operation by the Liberty Township Police Department and Mahoning Valley Human Trafficking Task Force. As well as being charged with possession of criminal tools and solicitation, one of the men also faces accusations of drug possession.
The eight suspects are as follows:
- Brian Evans III, 47, Youngstown
- Thomas Biroschak, Jr., 29, Canfield
- Patrick Cassidy, 52, Hubbard
- Joseph Smith, 39, Niles
- Brian Stewart, 37, Kinsman
- Francis Cerech, 25, Campbell
- Terrance Flanagan, 51, Niles
- Louis Stirk, 47, Youngstown
"There’s no way for men to know whether the sex they’re buying is from a woman in slavery or an allegedly willing participant—or for that matter, an undercover cop," Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement. "Don’t buy sex in Ohio."
According to the AG, this is the second undercover operation in the Youngstown area in less than a year, after eight men were also arrested in Warren last April.
Said Liberty Township Police Chief Toby Meloro:
"We will continue to hold those buying and selling sex accountable, along with these websites that host sex-trafficking advertisements. The Liberty Police Department will continue to have an online presence to ensure the safety of children and adults alike and deter predators from committing these acts."